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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Grand opening of new fire station set for Saturday

Grand opening of new fire station set for Saturday

The brave men and women of Lafourche Parish Fire District 3 are presenting a brand new fire station dedicated to protecting residents.

The grand opening of the new station will be Saturday, March 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The state-of-the-art station is located at 17475 Hwy. 3235 in Galliano, two miles south of Walmart.

The free event is open to the public and will offer finger-foods such as hamburgers, hotdogs, and gratons as well as plastic firefighter helmets for the kids. More importantly, the public will have a chance to tour the station, as well as the station’s two new fire trucks, and see where the parish’s dedicated firefighters work and sleep.

The ribbon cutting and station blessing will be held at 1 p.m.

“I like showing people that they have 24-hour fire protection because a lot of people don’t know that. Come tour the station and see what you’re paying for. Taxpayer funding is not going to waste,” said Fire Prevention Officer Jada Pitre.

For this grand opening Fire Chief Freddy Guidry wants to do something a little different than traditional openings. Instead of cutting a ribbon with a pair of scissors they plan to cut fireline tape with a firefighter’s axe.

The new fire station has been a $1.8 million investment. It is extremely important to the area, especially during hurricane season. Most of the firefighters stay behind, even during the worst storms. The way this new station has been constructed will ensure both the safety of the firefighters and the ability for them to respond at a moment’s notice.

“We evacuated for one storm and after that I said never again. We worried about anyone left behind. We hurried back in 40 mph winds. Now we don’t have to worry about that anymore. We can stay and be safe,” said Fire Chief Guidry.

For the purpose of staying during hurricanes, Guidry said that when they were in the planning phase he wanted the station to look like a WWII bunker. The walls are nearly a foot thick of solid concrete, and state-of-the-art emergency response command centers will be located on both the first and second floor.

To protect against flooding, the second floor can run completely independent from the first floor with its own generator. There are no windows on the second floor to make it impervious to the high winds of any hurricane. The firefighters live on the second floor, which has its own kitchen, den, and two separate sleeping quarters with four beds each.

At all times there will always be at least six firefighters ready to go along the bayou with at least four at this station and two in Port Fourchon.

“We signed up to protect our community, not to bail when it gets bad,” said Pitre. “This fire station will help keep us safe so we can do our best to keep the community in which we live and love safe as well.”

Every year in October, during Fire Prevention Month, the Galliano fire station hosts an open-house event with tours of the station and training grounds. The Fire District also exhibits live action firefighting training for the visitors to see.

The grounds offer a massive amount of training from fighting house fires, to rappelling, to vehicle rescue, to dealing with meth labs and much more. The training provided there is some of the best in the country. The Galliano fire station has trained Coast Guard teams in firefighting from all over the country as well as some international units.

The fire station also implements a number of programs geared towards fire prevention such as public fire education lead by Pitre. One program they have implemented is giving out and installing free smoke detectors.

Presently, Lafourche Parish Fire District 3 is number two in the state for installing smoke detectors, second only to New Orleans.

“Our goal is to put ourselves out of business, and the way to do that is to educate the public about preventing fires,” said Guidry.

The fire department is also hosting its second annual 5K run on March 28 at the Golden Meadow Park. The proceeds go to Firefighters for Life, a Relay for Life team, and from there go directly to the American Cancer Society. Last year they managed to raise $3,000 to combat cancer.

The fire department is always looking for new paid and volunteer firefighters, dispatchers, and anyone who wants to serve their community.